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COVID-19 updates: More than 86,000 confirmed cases in Washington, 2,100 deaths

Julie and Greg Schwab wait to order from the Dreamy Drinks food truck, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, near the suburb of Lynnwood, Wash., north of Seattle. Long seen as a feature of city living, food trucks are now finding customers in the suburbs during the coronavirus pandemic as people are working and spending most of their time at home. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The DOH says there have been more than 86,000 coronavirus cases in Washington state, and 2,100 people have died from the virus. Check below for more updates.

Confirmed coronavirus cases across Washington state

Sunday, Sept. 27

4:50pm – The state Department of Health is reporting a total of 86,269 confirmed cases. The DOH no longer updates the death count on weekends, so the total remains at 2,100.

8:20am – The organization Child Care Aware of America says that since July, 40% of child care centers and 27% of home-based child care providers have closed. Advocates say that without more economic aid during the pandemic, many of the newest closures could become permanent and more could follow, which could leave a lot of working parents with even fewer options for child care.

The report says Washington has some of the least affordable child care in the country.

Saturday, Sept. 26

3:31pm – There are 85,830 confirmed cases and 2,100 deaths in Washington, according to the state Department of Health, adding 604 new cases since Friday. Statewide, there have been 1,820,623 tests.

Earlier this month, the state was seeing daily case counts in the 200 range. But in the last week, an average of more than 500 new cases were reported each day, with one day nearly topping 1,000. In Pierce County, health officials say they believe the uptick is the result of Labor Day get-togethers.

2:16pm – More than 1,000 New Yorkers tested positive for COVID-19 in a single day, marking the first time since June 5 the state has seen a daily number that high. Read more. Wisconsin on Saturday hit a record for coronavirus cases reported in a single day as health officials reported 2,817 people have tested positive for the virus. Read more.

7:58am – The state Department of Health updated its data dashboard Friday evening, reporting a total of 85,226 confirmed cases and 2,100 deaths. That’s a increase of 988 new cases and 20 deaths since Thursday’s data update.

Friday, Sept. 25

5:01pm – While Thanksgiving is still two months away, local and national health officials have indicated already that holidays in 2020 will — and should — look different for most families than in years past. Read more.

3:23pm – One of the free COVID-19 testing sites hosted by the City of Seattle is moving next week. The walk-up test site was located at Rainier Beach High School, but will move to the Atlantic City Boat Ramp starting Monday. Find more information about the city’s free testing sites and register for an appointment online here.

2:27pm – There will be another mask giveaway event for King County residents on Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Tukwila Food Pantry from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Each resident can obtain two cloth reusable masks per household member, up to six household members.

11:31am – Tacoma Public Schools has announced it will not bring students back to school on Sept. 28 for in-person instruction.

The district said it learned from the state Department of Labor and Industries that many of its N95 masks are not passing safety standards. Also, more information from L&I will come out the week of Sept. 28. Read more here.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, told the Gee & Ursula Show that only high-risk categories and employees that have to be in close contact with others or with students should have to follow the more strict requirements for masking as students return to school buildings. Most general education teachers, he says, should be able to wear a cloth face covering while keeping physical distance, but more clarification is expected from L&I soon.

“We understand that L&I is trying to clarify what is a high-risk category that definitely requires an N95,” Reykdal said. “But we understand that it is not the requirement in our regular, general education setting that an N95 mask is required. They’re going to clarify on whether or not it’s cloth face covering and a shield, or if it could just be a dust mask, or it can be a surgical mask.”

8:56am – Now seven months into responding to the COVID-19 crisis, there’s a good deal the United States has done right, as well as areas where the nation’s response efforts have been lacking. UW MetaCenter for Pandemic Preparedness Director Dr. Peter Rabinowitz stopped by KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show to weigh in. Read more.

7:01am – Ivar’s Acres of Clams on the Seattle waterfront and the Salmon House on Lake Union are closing for now because of COVID- 19. Read more.

5:17am – The state Department of Health released guidance Thursday, detailing the difference between self-quarantining and self-isolating.

With self-quarantining, the goal is to “avoid spreading the virus before you know if you’re sick.” You’re limited to staying home and avoiding contact with anyone outside your household, and it ends 14 days after your last contact with an ill person.

Isolation is for those who can confirm they have COVID, and requires you to stay home and avoid contact even with members of your own household. The DOH advises staying in a separate room with a separate bathroom if possible. Isolation ends at least 24 hours after a fever has gone without using medicine and when other symptoms have improved, and it must be 10 days since last contact with an ill person.

Thursday, Sept. 24

6:03pm – If you’ve lost your job in the economic crisis, getting back into the job market may be made even more challenging by the fact that the prevalence of remote work over the past six months has revolutionized the skills required for many jobs. Luckily, local libraries are offering virtual job training to give people a crash-course in this new mode of working. Read more.

5:19pm – The UW Huskies and WSU Cougars will have a Pac-12 football season to take part in this fall.

The Pac-12 on Thursday set a Nov. 6 start date for a six-game football regular season, following the Big Ten in overturning its August decision to postpone until spring because of concerns about playing through the pandemic. Read more.

4:17pm – There are now 84,238 confirmed cases with 2,080 deaths in Washington, according to the state Department of Health. This marks an increase of 536 new cases since Wednesday’s data update. Statewide, there have been 1,783,279 total tests.

3:48pm – To keep air travel as safe as possible during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Inslee announced Thursday that new protocols will be in place at airports statewide, created in partnership with airlines, the ports, and the public. Read more.

1:21pm – Ivar’s is closing its Acres of Clams and Salmon House full-service restaurants on Sept. 28 until the spring after “significant drops in customer visits” due to the pandemic and resulting restrictions.

“Without cruise passengers, conventions, tourists, banquets, Sounders, Seahawks, and Mariner fans, and workers in the downtown offices, there are few people eating in our full service restaurants. We fear when the weather changes and the rains return, we lose outside dining and we won’t have any customers,” Ivar’s President Bob Donegan said.

The company’s Seafood Bars and Kidd Valley locations, however, are in neighborhoods that rely less on tourists and outdoor dining, and Ivar’s reports that they’ve seen increases in customers count, as well as in pick-up and delivery orders. Those 19 other locations will remain open.

12:18pmA new study conducted in Seattle looks into disparities in COVID-19 testing and infections across the city’s language groups. The study found that non-English speakers “were overall less likely to have completed testing compared with English speakers,” primarily in those who speak Spanish, Vietnamese, and Amharic, representing King County’s largest immigrant groups.

10:22am – Washington state saw 19,574 initial regular unemployment claims last week, a 6.4% increase from the week prior. However, the state saw a 4.6% decrease in claims for all unemployment benefit categories, totaling 540,153.

9:40am – Gov. Jay Inslee will be delivering a press conference at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, outlining new safety protocols for air travel. The conference will be streamed live on TVW here.

8:43am – A new report jointly released by a handful of research institutes — including UW’s IHME — details the importance of mask-wearing, and its relative effect on mitigating COVID-19 outbreaks.

7:12am – Seattle-King County Public Health published guidance Wednesday on how residents can take safety precautions this Halloween amid the ongoing pandemic.

Among its recommendations, it advises using tape to mark waiting spots six feet apart on the way up to your door if you’re handing out candy, wearing masks that “snugly” cover your nose and mouth as part of your costume, and setting aside candy that comes from outside your household for 24 hours before allowing children to handle it.

You can read the full list of recommendations here.

5:40am – In the United States, 870,000 people applied for jobless benefits in the last week, with the recovery process still moving slowly for much of the country. Of the 22 million jobs lost as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, roughly half have been recovered, all while small retailers, hotels, restaurants, airlines, and entertainment venues continue to struggle.

Wednesday, Sept. 23

4:18pm – Health officials say there have been 83,702 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 2,081 deaths. That’s an increase of 11 deaths and 509 cases since Tuesday. DOH says there have been 1,743,296 tests conducted, which puts the rate of positive tests at 4.80%.

4:05pm – The Snohomish Health District released a video of what it’s like to get tested for COVID-19 at a drive-thru testing site, after registering of course. You can find a test site near you here.

3:47pm – King County has an updated list of its free COVID-19 testing sites. You don’t need health insurance or proof of residency. Make an appointment before you go. 206-477-3977

1:32pm – Gov. Inslee issued the initial stay-at-home order for Washington state six months ago today.

11:01am – Pierce County will be giving out free COVID-19 tests to residents on Thursday. Identification is not required — find more details and register for a test here.

9:12am – Halloween may be more than a month away, but if you’ve seen the CDC guidelines for keeping it safe, the time to start planning is now. Read more from KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross here.

7:28am – After the CDC posted — and then quickly removed — updated guidance on how COVID-19 is spread, Columbia University virologist Dr. Angela Rasmussen is questioning whether the CDC can be trusted as a source of information on the virus. Read more

5:55am – Gov. Inslee vowed Wednesday to make sure that “Donald Trump’s fingerprints” are not on any eventual COVID vaccine.

“Those are the fingerprints we have to keep off of this process,” Inslee told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, stressing the importance of allowing health experts to decide when and how to distribute a vaccine when it’s ready for the public.

Tuesday, Sept. 22

10:12pm – Health officials say there have been 83,193 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 2,070 deaths. That’s an increase of 345 cases and 15 deaths since Monday. It’s been two full weeks since Labor Day Weekend, a benchmark officials are reviewing as they consider reopening more businesses and allowing for some in-person learning at some schools.

3:00pm – The state Department of Health rolled back the data on its COVID-19 dashboard to Sept. 20. After posting data for Sept. 21, the DOH says it discovered errors. The department is working to identify the cause and correct the errors, but plans to update the dashboards again Tuesday.

1:52pm – The Seattle Mariners say that fans have helped raise $70,000 for All In WA, a relief effort that supports workers and families who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The money was raised through the team’s Seat Fleet initiative. Nearly 15,000 cardboard cutouts of fans were purchased and placed in the seats at T-Mobile Park for the 2020 season.

“The physical presence of the cutouts helped bring color and atmosphere to the ballpark at a time when fans were not allowed to attend games due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the team said in a news release.

11:42am – Current mandates only allow Washington restaurants and bars to operate at 50% capacity, and it’s no secret that they’re struggling. But for many owners who respect the importance of keeping the community safe through social distancing, the nail in the coffin is that they can’t serve alcohol after 10 p.m. Read more

8:58am – The U.S. has officially crested a grim milestone, having now topped 200,000 total COVID-19 deaths according to a count from Johns Hopkins University.

7:01am – Starting Tuesday, the Sultan School District will be returning some of its students to in-person classes.

The district plans to bring back kindergartners at Sultan and Gold Bar Elementary Schools for half-day learning, and then bring back first and second graders part-time in October.

In the South Sound, students in the Puyallup School District have the option for in-person learning. The phased-in approach starts next Tuesday with special education students.

A week later, kindergarten and first grade students can head back, followed by second through sixth grade students. Those students will only be at school in person two days a week. That’s the plan for seventh through 12th grade as well. They will not begin sooner than Nov. 3.

5:26am – The City of Seattle is now accepting applications for Stay Healthy Block Permits, allowing community groups to apply for approval to temporarily close streets to thru traffic “for increased access to outdoor recreation space and improved mental health.”

“Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve listened carefully to residents and worked diligently to develop a toolkit of programs to meet their needs, while keeping public health considerations at the forefront,” SDOT head Sam Zimbabwe said. “Stay Healthy Blocks are an important new tool for us to use during this challenging time.”

Monday, Sept. 21

6:00pm – We’re all looking forward to turning the corner and getting back to normal after conquering this pandemic. But we’ll be attempting to get back to normal as flu season dawns, and dealing with both at the same time will lead to difficulties. There is a chance, however, that the preventative measures in place now to limit the spread COVID-19 could also help limit the spread of flu.

“They could both happen and have the problem with people being co-infected and getting very, very sick. Or it could be that we actually see a reduction in the number of people who get the flu this year because of all the hygiene practices that we’ve taken and put into place in order to reduce the likelihood of getting infected with coronavirus,” Mercer Island MD Dr. Gordon Cohen told Seattle’s Morning News. Read more.

5:18pm – Today marks two weeks since Labor Day, so health trackers say this week’s coronavirus numbers will show if any socializing that took place over the holiday weekend will create a new spike in cases. The last couple of days have brought reports of under 350 new positive tests each day.

4:42pm – Gov. Inslee announced updated guidance for agritourism as part of Washington state’s Safe Start phased reopening plan Monday, now allowing all agritourism activities to operate in Modified Phase 1 counties under Phase 2 guidance.

3:36pm – The state Department of Health is reporting a total of 82,848 confirmed cases and 2,055 deaths statewide. That’s an increase of 18 deaths since the last report on Friday since the DOH does not update the reported deaths on weekends. There have been 1,720,769 total tests.

1:54pm – A few inconclusive COVID-19 tests among Seattle Storm players delayed their game against the Minnesota Lynx in Florida that was scheduled for last night until Tuesday. The team is being tested again and remains in isolation until the results are returned.

12:01pm – To help answer questions and clarify the status of the “Return-to-Play Process,” the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association issued a statement Sunday, adding that the group “fully understands the desire to return to play.” The WIAA’s top priority is the health and safety of student-participants, while offering equitable opportunities to all students. Read more

10:16am – The CDC walked back an update to its COVID-19 guidance this week, deleting newly-added text that acknowledged the virus can spread over distances longer than six feet, and stressed the importance of good indoor ventilation.

The CDC claimed that the addition was a “website error,” and that the guidance “does not reflect our current state of knowledge.”

8:53am – After closing to the public at the start of Washington’s COVID-19 crisis, the Burke Museum is set to reopen this Tuesday.

The museum’s reopening comes alongside a handful of safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including a mask mandate, timed-entry tickets, enhanced cleaning protocols, and more. Additionally, hands-on interactive exhibits and play spaces will be on hold “until public health officials deem it is safe to bring them back.”

7:24amA new study looking into the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment found that the medication does not help mitigate the effects of the virus, and in some cases, could actually harm patients.

“We found no benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine on the survival of COVID-19 patients,” the study reads. “For hydroxychloroquine, the confidence interval is compatible with increased mortality or negligibly reduced mortality.”

5:15am – A federal lost wages assistance program that adds $300 a week to unemployment payments begins in Washington on Monday. Because of the large number of payments the program will need to process, Washington state officials are warning recipients to expect delays “up to several days.” Find more details here.

Read last week’s updates

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